Skip to main content

About this Show

Tonight From Washington

News/Business. News.




San Francisco, CA, USA

Comcast Cable

Channel 17 (141 MHz)






U.s. 98, United States 49, Us 36, America 18, Wyoming 17, Afghanistan 13, John Brennan 10, Jackson 7, Obama Administration 7, Madam 6, Mr. Brennan 6, Brennan 6, Pakistan 6, Washington 6, United States Senate 4, Mr. Paul 4, Wyden 4, Mr. Barrasso 4, Medellin 4, England 3,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Tonight From Washington    News/Business. News.  

    March 6, 2013
    8:00 - 11:00pm EST  

it's a place where you have constitutional rights and have for hundreds of years. but the posse comitatus act, after the civil war, regulated and prohibited the military from acting as a police or taking a police role on u.s. soil. proponents say that the high-resolution cameras, heat censors and sophisticated radar on the border protection drones -- and this is the other point. these drones were legislated to be used on the border, and you can argue that there's a federal role for monitoring our borders for national defense and other reasons. but now they're loaning them out to local law enforcement and law enforcement's also buying drones directly. so they have high-resolution cameras, heat censors and sophisticated radar on the border protection drones that can help track criminal activity in the united states, just as the c.i.a. uses predators and other drones to spy on militants
in pakistan, nuclear sites in iran and other targets around the globe. for decades, u.s. courts have allowed law enforcement to conduct aerial surveillance without a warrant. this is that sort of open spaces doctrine. i'm not saying it makes it right but the government has been doing it for decades. some of the courts have apparently ruled that what a person does in the open, even behind a back yard fence, can be seen from a passing airplane and is not protected by privacy laws. you know, i don't think i agree with that. if you're swimming in your pool in your back yard, if you're in your hot tub in your back yard, just because we have the technology to be able to see you in your hot tub, does that really mean they have a right to look at what you are doing in your back yard, so i don't really accept that. i think it has been abused and something that really we should be fighting against the surveillance state. advocates say predators are
simply more effective than other planes. flying out of earshot and out of sight, a predator bee can watch a target for 20 hours nonstop, far longer than any police helicopter or manned aircraft. i would say there it seems like it may be somewhat analogous to the supreme court case. the supreme court ruled that you can't tag people's cars and watch them constantly waiting to see if they break any laws. so i would think the same for a predator, you can't just stake them out, watch and eventually you will get somebody breaking a speed limit or running a stop sign. i don't think that's what was really intended. howard safire says i am for the use of drones. he is the former head of operations of the u.s. marshal's service and former new york city commissioner. he said drones could help police in manhunts, hostage situations
and other difficult situations. i agree completely. if someone is being held in harm's way, if someone is being held and threatened, absolutely, drones are a great idea. it's not that i am opposed to the technology. i'm not particularly excited about them hovering outside your window, looking over your shoulder at what magazines you read, whether you're reading any "free market" magazines that might be offensive to government officials. so i think that they really -- we don't want people looking into your activities in your house without a warrant. but i think in situations where people have already broken the law, there is lethal force being exposed and there are people that are in danger, why wouldn't we want to use a drone versus a policeman to save the life of a policeman going into a difficult situation, so i think those probably will come to fruition, and that doesn't really bother me. in some ways, it's a little bit analogous to the situation we are talking about with drone strikes by the military in the united states.
it's not so much that anybody's really opposed to using a drone to shoot down a plane that's flying in to attack us or people are flying into a building to knock a building down or flying into the capitol. nobody is really opposed to using a drone when there is a lethal, imminent force. the problem is it's gotten so convoluted, because the president said an imminent threat doesn't have to be immediate. so that's the kind of thing we're concerned about. we're not concerned really about , you know, a threat, an imminent or lethal threat where someone responds. what we're concerned about is a drone strike against a noncombatant. it seems like it ought to be an easy question for the president. couldn't he at least respond and say you know what? i have always believed this, i just forgot to mention it, and we weren't very clear in the way we expressed it, but obviously we would never use a drone against a noncombatant. he needs to say that, though,
because the drones overseas are being used against noncombatants, and we need to know what the rules are going to be. this is a long, drawnout day, but it's to try to get some answers. it's to try to shame the president into doing the right thing. i think he knows what the right thing is. i think the president, you know, part of him would like to do the right thing, but i think there is a certain stubbornness there, too. i think there is a certain belief that he's the president and presidents have all this power, and he doesn't want to give any of that power up. and i think some of that you see with republicans and democrats, frankly, that people leave the legislative branch, when they get into the white house, they think i'm a good person, i would never use the power wrongly, so why would it be wrong if i got more power? why would it be wrong if i said i'm going to use the fifth amendment, people will get due process except for sometimes when i just think they are really bad people, and then i won't use the fifth amendment, i
won't get due process. now, privacy advocates say that drones help police snoop on citizens that push breaking the law to a breaking point. any time you have a tool like that in your hands that makes it easier to do surveillance, they will do more of it. this could be a time when people are uncomfortable and they want to place limits on that technology. it could make us question the doctrines that you do not have privacy in public. that's a good point. maybe we will question some of the things we have said before about open spaces now that we can crisscross every minute inch of your open spaces. you know, you have to imagine that we now have drones that weigh less than an ounce, so we're not even talking about the pictures of you coming down. and some of us after a while really don't want pictures of us in our bathing suit, whether it's two miles up or whether it's from five feet in front of us. and so i can't imagine that we
would eventually rule that a drone could swoop down and be ten feet over your fence. what's the question going to be? can they be ten feet over your fence or 2,000 feet in the air and still snoop on you without any kind of probable cause? do we want to live in a police state? do we want to live in a surveillance state? but it's going to take people who stand up and say enough's enough that we're just not going to do this instead of everybody being like a herd of recommendation and just going -- of lemmings and everybody going off the cliff instead of saying lead me, lead me. we have to ask the question are you going to trade your liberty for security. are you so fearful, are you so afraid that you're willing to trade your liberty for security? that's sort of the underlying question to this entire debate. in the los angeles times article, they continue." this could be a time when people
are uncomfortable and they want to place limits on that technology. it could make us question the doctrine that you do not have privacy in public." this is from a june 13 article, 2012, in "wired" magazine by lorenzo francesci bechieri -- "we like to think of the drone war as something far away, fought in the deserts of yemen or the mountains of afghanistan, but we now know it's closer than we thought. there are 64 drone bases on american soil. that includes 12 locates housing predator and reaper unmanned aerial vehicles which can be armed. public intelligence, a nonprofit that advocates for free access to information, released a map -- which probably is not a very good idea, to tell you the truth, a map of where our drone bases are in the united states -- assembled from military sources, especially little known since june, 2011.
the possibility of military drones as well as those controlled by police departments and universities flying over american skies have raised concerns among privacy activists. the other thing that should concern everybody, and probably people saw this is they have some university students seeing if they could commandeer a drone, so they had a drone fly over and a guy that didn't know the frequency all of a sudden within two minutes is commandeering a drone. there is questions whether that's what happened in iran or whether the thing landed accidentally. i really don't know the answer to that, but i think it's of concern that the drones could be commandeered and used by other people. it's also of concern that ultimately our enemies are going to have these drones, too, and so while war is a messy thing and there are a lot of imperfections to war, i think the way we act in war should be
the way we ultimately want to be treated in war. and it's easier said than done, and i don't think an easy doctrine, but it's something that we should aspire to. the possibility of military drones as well as those controlled by police departments and universities flying over american skies has raised concerns among privacy activists . the american civil liberties union explained in its december report that machines could potentially be used to spy on american citizens. the drone's presence in our skies threaten to eradicate existing practical limits on aerial monitoring. mr. paul: the drones' presence in our skies threaten to eradicate existing practical limits on aerial monitoring and
allowing for pervasive surveillance, police fishing expeditions and abusive use of these tools in a way that would eventually lame the privacy americans have traditionally enjoyed in their movements and activities. i have told people that when i first read "1984," you know, i was bothered by it and everybody is bothered by big brother being able to have these two-way televisions in your house and they see everything you do and you can't escape big brother. but part of the consolation i had and part of the feeling i had was well, they can't do this, the technology doesn't exist. when i was a kid, it didn't exist. it's amazing, though, to think that orwell writes this in 1949 before any of this technology was. we were getting closer in the 1970's when i was a kid, and now we're there, though. the technology is there. so while technology's not an enemy and technology is not something we can or should ban, technology makes your privacy
more important. it makes the defense of your privacy something that needs to be guarded more jealously because your government now does have the technology to see your every movement, to monitor your every move. so do your enemies, for that matter. so you can imagine you don't want the police g.p.s. tagging you. you probably don't want your political opponents tagging your car either. so there have to be some protections of privacy. the issue and discussion of privacy has been one that conservatives and people in the right haven't always been as unified. libertarians on the right have been better with these issues, and some conservatives have as well. but the question has always been do you have a right to privacy? i have always said sure, you have a right to privacy. i can't imagine why you wouldn't have a right to privacy. now, some on the conservative side say well, you don't have a right to privacy. it's not -- nobody talked about it in the constitution, you
don't necessarily have a right to privacy. i kind of disagree because i think what's talked about in the constitution are the freedoms you gave up or you agree to have limited. the freedoms that you didn't agree to have limited are unnamed. they are unenumerated, and the ninth and tenth amendments say they are to be left to the states and people. the things in the ninth and tenth amendment, what it says is there is a plethora of rights, there is an unlimited amount of rights, and they are yours. they stay with you unless the government explicitly takes these rights away from you. and so what -- the conclusion i have with the right to privacy is i you do have a right to privacy. i think you have a right to private property. private property isn't listed in the constitution either, but i think all of our founding fathers believed in private property and some of them talked about actually putting the word in there, but i think some of them liked more the idea of instead of life, liberty and
property, they liked life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. i think it has a more noble ring to it because it's not talking about the property to lead, but pursuit of happiness talks about the pursuit of gaining things that you will own. one of the things about our government and about the rule of law and one of the things really that, frankly, i think a lot of people don't think about but that makes us an incredibly prosperous nation is the certainty of the law, and by that what i mean is the certainty of ownership. this gets to sort of the idea of why not only do we want these rights for the civil protection so we can't be incarcerated or accused of a crime falsely without being able to defend ourselves, we also want the rule of law to be consistent for everyone and not muteable. we don't want it to be arbitrary. we don't want the whims of any politician or any executive to be able to decide what the law is. this isn't the first time that i have had some -- some
disagreement with the president on this. when we had some of the bankruptcies, when the car companies were going bankrupt, i believe it was with the chrysler bankruptcy that as things went through, there were people who were creditors. they owned part of the company. i learned this firsthand because i had some fruit of the loom stock. when fruit of the loom went bankrupt, i thought i'll get something right. they'll be bought out. i didn't get anything. i was an unsecured creditor. in the chrysler thing, so were the labor unions. usually what happens is the company, unfortunately, goes bankrupt. all those contracts would be renegotiated and really then the car companies could become competitive. they could become like toyota or other successful companies that are nonaoupbzed and -- nonunionized and become successful again. we took the bankruptcy law and turned it on its head. when we do this and bail out
banks and change the rules midpoint, it changes what investors do and it changes that certainty that investors need either in banks or in car companies. pension plans invest in a lot of these things. a lot of people think, the president had preference for the union because he liked the union. that's fine, but teachers are in a union too, and they had a pension plan and they own chrysler stock and they got ripped off because he changed the law and gave the money to the auto workers union. but he took it from somebody else. the problem is you need those pension funds, some of which are regular working folks. firemen have them. police have them. teachers have them. it's one of the things that wasn't fully explained in the romney election. he got so much grief for running these funds, but a lot of the people who became successful along with him and who made money, which average, order
citizens that are teachers, firemen and policemen, their pension plan is there and was there in bain capital. and i think that was never fully explained. but my point is with the rule of law is that is that certainty is what creates our wealth in our country. one of the reasons it's hard for africa to get ahead, africa has great resources. diamonds and mineral. one of the big reasons they don't get ahead is because there's corruption in their government. some of that corruption we aid and abet because we give foreign aid directly to foreign governments who steal it. mubarak was one of the richest men in the world, probably worth between $5 billion and $10 billion. we gave him $60 billion so i guess we should be thankful he only stole a third of t. mobutu stole. there was no running water, no
electricity. he and the soldiers stole our money as well. the problem is not only do you have the kleptocracy and stealing of foreign aid, you don't have capital. a lot of our country is based on home loans. it's where a lot of capital comes from particularly for average, ordinary citizens is borrowing against their house. if you don't have that certainty of the law, it's a problem. what we're talking about today is more certainty of your liberty from unfair prosecution or unfair rest or unfair death ultimately from a drone which takes consistency of law, which takes that the supreme, the constitution will be adhered to and it will be adhered to consistently and not in an arbitrary fashion. so it's important not only for your civil liberties. it's also important for your
private property as well to have a rule of law. people talk about a rule of law and they talk about it all the time but i don't think it fully gets through to everybody exactly what a rule of law means and how important it is. hayek wrote nothing more kphraoerl distinguishes an -- clearly distinguishes an arbitrary society from the rule of law, or arbitrary society from a stable society than the rule of law. the rule of law is what gives that certainty to the marketplace. it's not enough just to have freedom. you can have complete and random anarchic freedom and may not get prosperity if you don't have a law that stabilizes things. you have to have a police force and judiciary that enforces contracts. that's a lot of what goes on in the developing world that they don't have. they've got kleptocracy which we aid and abet by giving them money and giving it to thieves because the thieves are our friends, not somebody else's
friends. they also have instability by not having a rule of law. the presence of drones in our skies threatens to eradicate existing practice limits on monitoring. this comes from the article in "wired" by lorenzo picuarae. as danger room reported last month, even military drones prohibited from spying on americans may accidentally conduct surveillance and keep the data for months afterwards while they figure out what to do with it. the material they collect without a warrant could then be
used to open an investigation. the posse comitatus act prohibits the u.s. military from operating on american soil. once again, if we go back to asking the president this question: can you do military strikes on americans on american soil? you know an easy answer is i will obey the law. the law says he can't do it. and yet, he indicates that he's going to have different rules inside america than outside america for his drone strikes, which implies that he thinks he can do it. the posse comitatus act expressly forbids the military from operating in the united states. if he's going to kill americans in america, it will aoerbt -- either be in defiance of the posse comitatus act or he's going to have to arm the f.b.i. with drones to kill people. the problem is i think once he gets into the f.b.i., the ludicrous nature of what he's
asserting will really be, i think, paramount. i can't imagine that he can argue at that point that we're not going to obey the bill of rights with the f.b.i. because we already do with the f.b.i. so many of the answers are pretty simple here and pretty easy, and i can't imagine why he's resisting doing this. there's a new map that comes out almost two months after the electronic frontier foundation revealed another one, this time of public agencies including police departments and universities that have a permit issued by the federal aviation agency to use drones in american airspace. it goes to show you how entrenched drones already are said trevor tim, an e.f.f. activist, when asked about the new map. it's clear that the drone industry is expanding rapidly and this map is just another example of that. if people are worried about military technology coming back and being sold in the u.s., this
is another example of how drone technology is probably going to proliferate in the u.s. very soon. this is another article from february of 2013. this was in "wired." it's called domestic drone industry prepares for big battle with regulators. for a day, a sandy haired virginan was the hero of a nascent domestic drone industry. navarro went to a ballroom in a ritz carleton outside d.c. and did something many in his business want to do. tenaciously challenge the drone regulators at the f.a.a. to loosen restrictions on unmanned plans over the united states.
judging from the reaction he received and from the stated intentions of the drone advocates who convened the forum, the domestic drone industry expects to do more of that in the next coming months. there's been a lot of hype around unmanned drones becoming a fixture over u.s. airspace. you may have seen just two days ago, i think a pilot coming in to new york city saw one on the way down, and i saw the report, i think, yesterday saying they're still asking whose drone it was. you would think certainly we would have found out in 24 hours. i would think for certain it would probably be a government drone. but it's a little worrisome they're seeing drones they don't know who is flying them or where they are as far as getting in the way of our commercial airliners. there's been hype about drones becoming u.s. fixture over u.s. air face. both for law enforcement use and for operations by businesses as varied as farmers and
filmmakers. this sort of leads to another point, that it's not the technology that we're opposed to. there's going to be all kinds of private uses for drones. there will have to be rules where they're flown so they don't get in the way of airplanes. but i would think farmers and ranchers might want to use drones to look at their -- i don't know -- count their cattle or sheep. i don't know if you do that or not. there's going to be private uses for these drones that won't be objectionable. all these have big implications for traditional conceptions of privacy. as unmanned planes can loiter over people's backyards and snap pictures for far longer than piloted aircraft. the government is anticipating the drone makers would generate a windfall cash as drones move from the military to the civilian world. jim williams of the federal aviation administration told a conclave at the drone manufacturers conference that the potential market for government and commercial drones
could generate nearly $90 billion in economic activity. but there is an object obstacley say, at the federal aviation administration. the federal aviation administration has been reluck tapbts to grant licenses -- reluctant to grant licenses out of fear that the drones have an alarming crash rate and are spoofable, don't have the sense -bl capacity to spot approaching aircraft which would endanger u.s. airspace. the f.a.a. has been criticized some by, there's a group called the electronic frontier foundation for not being transparent about its licenses and they filed freedom of information act because they would like to know whether the intentions of those putting the drones up is benign or whether it involves some kind of surveillance. i think ultimately we talk a lot about the government spying on us but i think there is great potential for your competitor, enemies and other people to spy on with you drones, particularly
as they become cheaper. those issues will be complicated. i think one way to sort of rectify or give an answer to those is i think your property from where it starts on the ground up is yours. people can fly over it, but i don't think they should be able to snoop and look down in it. i think probably private or public looking down in your property. that will be something, though, that the courts will continue to have to work out. there's a push last year by congress and the obama administration directing the f.a.a. to fully integrate unmanned aircraft into american skies. it hasn't been nearly enough for the drone makers. the f.a.a. has been designating six test sites for drones around the country. the question is when the test site selection will begin. i'm sure you're asking that now says williams, head of the
f.a.a.'s drone division. drone makers are frustrated by the logic of existing regulations. currently a drone weighing under 55 pounds flying 400 feet within an operators line of sight and away from an airport is considered a model airplane and cleared to fly without a license. that is if it's not engaging in any for-profit activity. sort of. a farmer can be a modeler if they operate their aircraft as a hobby or for recreational purposes. enter navarro, a 31-year-old who owns a drone business in falls church, virginia, called vanilla aircraft. if a farmer who is profit minded can fly as a hobbyist an unmanned aircraft, navarro's challenge is why can't i as the owner of an unmanned aircraft company, fly as a hobbyist my own unmanned aircraft over property i own? the guidelines for this were
that any commercial intent is prohibited, but. the bottom line is there's going to be a lot of things we're going to enter into with private drones, but opposition to the technology either for military purposes or for private purposes is not something that we are going after. what we're talking about is whether or not your privacy will be respected and whether your constitutional rights will be protected. this is a new article from today by friedersdorf calling killing americans on u.s. soil. eric holderrers evasive manipulative letter. in 1941 japanese bombed the air base in hawaii. six decades later al qaeda terrorists flew hijacked airplanes into the pentagon.
neither president roosevelt nor president bush targeted and killed americans on u.s. soil in the aftermath of these attacks. doing so wouldn't have made any sense. how strange then that attorney general eric holder invoked these very attacks in a letter confirming that president obama believes there are circumstances in which he could order americans targeted and killed on u.s. soil. kind of strange, the things that we're -- that he gives as justification are things in which we didn't kill americans. it's possible, i suppose, to imagine -- these are eric holder's words now. "it's possible, i suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the constitution and applicable laws for the president to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the united states," he wrote.
for example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use force, if necessary, to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like what happened in 1941 and again on 9/11. this very scenario to be guarded against is a president using the pretext of a terrorist attack to seize extraordinary powers. isn't that among the most likely scenarios for the united states turning into an authoritarian security state? to be sure, if americans are at the controls of fighter jets en route to hawaii, of course obama could order that they be fired upon. if americans hijacked a plane, of course it would be permissible to kill them before they could crash it into a building. but those are not the sort of targeted killings we're talking about. what we're talking about is killing people not engaged in combat because you suspect them
of being a terrorist. if you read to the end of holder's letter, to the passage wresd -where he said -- and this friedersdorf again -- if you read at the end of holder's letter to the passage where he says, "if such an emergency were to arise, i would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president on the scope of his authority. it becomes clear that despite invoking pearl harbor and 9/11, even he isn't envisioning a response to an attack in process which would have to happen immediately. so what does he envision? if he can see that, for example, if he can see that a for example is necessary to explain, he ought to give us a clarifying example rather than a nonsensical one that seems to name check events for their emotional resonance more than for their aptness to the issue."
elsewhere in his letter, holder writes that the u.s. government has not carried out drone strikes in the united states and has no intention of doing so. as a policy matter, moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in the country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. interesting, they reject it as a policy matter but aren't willing to reject military force in the united states as a legal matter. this is a good distinction. even in instances where law enforcement would better incapacitate the threat. for the obama administration conceding that the executive branch is legally forbidden to do certain things is verboten. so it is kind of interesting, they're willing -- when they are willing to admit to any kind of limitations on their power, they say, policy-wise they might be limited but they're not willing to say legally they are limited. and this is a problem of not just this administration but the
previous one, of thinking that any kind of inch that they give to another branch of government, that they will be losing some of their power and they're unwilling to do it. friedersdorf goes on to say that for the obama administration, conceding that the executive branch is legally forbid tone do certain things is -- forbidden to do certain things is verboten, despite the fact that an unchecked executive is much more dangerous than the possibility of a future president failing to do enough to fight back against an actual attack on the homeland. any thinking person can see that holder's letter is nonresponsive, evasive and deliberately manipulative in its sly reassurances, right down to the rhetorically powerful but substantively nonsensical invocation -- invocation of 9/11.
being more subtle about it than rudy giuliani doesn't make it right. to credulously accept this sort of response on an issue as important as this one is behavior unfit for any citizen of a free country. we're safeguarding the rule -- where safeguarding the rule of law is civic responsibility. the time to discuss the appropriate scope of the president's authority is now. i know many would rather defer this, they'd rather do this at another time, but the thing is, is it is now. we've brought the issue up. we've spent a lot of time on this issue. why not have a discussion? instead of putting me off and saying, oh, we'll have a committee hearing on it. oh, sorry, you're not on that committee but we're going to have a committee hearing on this at a later date. it will never be discussed. nothing ever happens around he here. i mean, they promise you stuff, they say we're going to take care of it but it never happens. and i think it never will. the time to discuss the
appropriate scope of the president's authority -- this is friedersdorf again -- "the time to discuss the appropriate scope of the president's authority is now, not in the aftermath of a catastrophic attack on the nation, as holder suggests. the fact that he disagrees speaks volumes about team obama's reckless shortsightedness." mr. paul: this is another article from "wired." this is from today also. this is by spencer akerman. "the obama administration calls it targeted killing. steven segal would call it getting marked for death. it's the practice of singling
out an individual linked to a terrorist group for killing and it's played out hundreds of times in the 9/11 era, including more recently against u.s. citizens like al qaeda's youtube preacher, anwar awlaki. the obama administration has said nothing about thousand works or what law is restricted until monday. attorney general eric holder explained that the administration's reasoning for killing american citizens overseas and only overseas with drone strikes and other means during a monday speech at northwestern university. holder claimed that the government can kill a u.s. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al qaeda or associated forces provided the government unilaterally determines that the citizen poses an imminent threat of violent attack. once again, a little bit of a problem on the imminent doctrine is that imminent doesn't have to mean immediate. "he can't be captured and the
law of war principles, like the use of proportional force and the minimization of collateral damage." the reason why some of this is important, even though he's talking about overseas now -- not what we're trying to talk about here -- is that since we haven't been given sort of the parameters for how they will kill americans in america, we can only assume that they'll work with the parameters they have overseas. the whole idea that an imminent threat's not immediate is -- is problematic, no matter where that doctrine is used. the idea that the -- the law of war principles, you know, i think proportional force is a good idea, you know, as far as, you know, trying to restrain how much force we use. but there's other things within the law of war that we need to be concerned about that -- things that happen in war aren't quite the same kind of standard that we would have in the united states. akerman goes and he says, "this is an indicator of our times."
this is actually holder. "this is an indication of our -- an indicator of our times, not a departure from our laws and our values. the debate over killing aweak, whom holder barely discussed, began long before a hellfire missile fired from a drone killed him and a propagandaist kahn in september. aweak sued the administration in 2010 to compel it to reveal its legal rationale for the long-telegraphed strike. the administration refused with the judge's support. for months after awlaki's position was disputed. following the sentencing of the unabomber -- not the unabomber, the underwear bomber, the government put forward a court ruling -- or a court filing dlaimg awlaki worked intimately
with abdul farouk abdulamoutoub, the underwear bombers, to blow up northwest airlines. holder referred to that connection in his speech. several legal scholars have wondered why the u.s. didn't have to provide awlaki with due process of law before killing him, as stipulated under the fifth amendment. holder contended that the u.s. actually did even if no judge ever heard the case. this is sort of an interesting point and i'm not really making an opinion on whether or not the fifth amendment applies to awlaki overseas. i think a lot of that's complicated and not necessarily certain whether you can apply the constitution to people outside the united states. or whether an entity within the united states should obey the constitution on people outside the united states. the bottom line is, in war, you're not really going to get due process and you're not going to get miranda rights if you're fighting in battle. it's a little bit more debatable when you're not. the point is, though, that
they're saying they are applying the fifth amendment sort of in private to awlaki. the question is, is if this is the standard that's going to be used in the united states, it's not going to be the actual use of the fifth amendment, which means a court and a jury. it's going to be the pretend use that's done behind closed doors. i'm not so sure you can have the fifth amendment, you know, that doesn't involve a courtroom. i don't know -- i just don't understand, you know, grand jury indictment, due process, not to be deprived of life and liberty, i don't know how it happens in private. but that's the way they're -- they're administering the fifth amendment in private and they're using their discretion as to when to administer the fifth amendment. but i just don't know how that's going to work. i also don't think that's appropriate for u.s. citizens. so, really, you know, other than the president asking and answering a question as to whether noncombatants will be killed in america, he -- he
needs to ask whether he's going to, before he kills them, is he going to use the fifth amendment in private in the oval office or is the fifth amendment going to be public? if it's public, i don't know how you kill somebody if you really are going to get some kind of due process, you'd have to get tried in a court. i'm not sure how -- how -- how this would go forward. this is a -- an additional quote from holder from the same spee speech. "the constitution's guarantee of due process is ironclad and it is essential but as a recent court decision makes clear, it does not require judicial approval before the president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the united states is at war, even if that individual happens to be a u.s. citizen." boy, that's kind of confusing. i mean, if that's going to be
the standard here, i would -- i'd be quite concerned. the standard over there, i think there's arguments on both sides of, but the standard over here, i just can't imagine that this is the standard we're going to use. because basically he's saying the constitution applies unless we think it doesn't apply. and they decide that it doesn't apply. but then he says, as long as we're at war. well, who are we at war with? you know, you have to decide, we're at war basically with anybody who doesn't like us around the world, and i'm not sure if there's ever an end to that. i think there are problems overseas but particularly the problem is, and i think the problem at hand that we're trying to get to the root of, is that is this the standard -- if you're using this standard overseas, are you going to use the standard here that basically the fifth amendment applies when we think it applies and it doesn't apply when we don't think it applies? now, this is akerman at this
point from "wired" again. "holder did not explain why awlaki's 16-year-old son, whom a missile strike killed two weeks after his death, was a lawful target. holder did not explain how a missile strike represents due process or what the standards for due process the government must meet when killing a u.s. citizen abroad. holder did not explain why the government can only target u.s. citizens suspected of terrorism for death overseas and not necessarily domestically." the thing to be -- you know, like i say, a lot of these things overseas, you -- you can debate and try to decide whether or not, you know, this is a war zone or not a war zone, but they -- they obviously don't apply in the united states. the most troubling thing about al-alwaki, the 16-year-old son of al-alwaki is the president's spokesman's response to this, the flippant nature of it and
the, i think, irresponsible nature for him to have said, he should have chosen more responsible parents. if that's a standard we're going to have for killing americans on american soil, that we're going to kill people who don't have responsible parents, we've set the bar pretty low for our killing program. i think al-alwaki was killed. i don't know; i've not seen the classified information. i think the son was killed probably when they either targeted someone else or they did what they're calling signature strikes where they don't know who they're killing necessarily. they just think they're bad people because they came from a meeting of other bad meeting. the decision to kill an american, holder said, is among the gravest that american government leaders can face. target a killing is not assassination he argues because assassinations are unlawful killings. among the few external
limitations of the government's war power that holder mentioned were the approval of local government where the strikes occur which must have pleased reluctant unsteady allies in pakistan and yemen. i guess he's saying that interesting thing, and probably pakistan has approved most of the drone killings but pakistan wants to say no we haven't. they're doing it against our will, but my guess is they have been told. some members of congress don't consider this to be a sufficient safeguard. the government should explain exactly how much evidence the president needs in order to decide that a particular american is part of a terrorist group says senator ron wyden, an oregon democrat who sits on the senate's intelligence committee. this is a further quote from senator wyden. it's also unclear to me whether the individual americans must be given the opportunity to surrender before lethal force is
used against them. and i'm particularly concerned that the geographic boundaries of this authority have not been clearly laid out. the point on the geographic boundaries is a pretty important point because this is one of the concerning things about what they maintain. they say there are no geographic limitations. they say they get the authority for war everywhere around the world as well as war here because they say there are no geographic limitations to the use of authorization of force when we went to war in afghanistan. i think people who voted for that -- and i would have voted to go to war in afghanistan, but people who voted for that i think thought we were going to afghanistan to fight the people who got us on 9/11. i don't think they thought when they voted for that resolution that it meant that we could have war in the united states under that resolution and that the standard would be one of the laws of war or one of martial law within the united states. i don't think anybody voting on
it had that conclusion, but that's a real problem, is that those people are saying, including the administration, are saying no geographic limitations. and essentially there's no temporal limbations. we have a perpetual war without geographic limitations which now they want to apply war principles to killing in the united states. this is ackerman going on. he says "based on what i've heard so far "-- no, this is still senator wyden. "based on what i heard so far, i can't tell whether or not the justice department's legal arguments would allow the president to order intelligence agencies to kill an american inside the united states." he's unclear about it. he's seen a lot more information than i have because he's on the intelligence committee and sees secure and classified information. and he's unsure of it. and so that makes me think that nobody in the senate or in the congress really knows whether or
not they're asserting whether they can kill americans on american soil. mary ellen o'connell, vice president of the american society of international law found holder's legal rational flimsy. this is her quote. "first holder states the renamed global war on terror which obama condemned then he tries the u.n. charter 51. it says member states of the u.n. have an inherent right of self-defense if an armed attack occurs. article 51 does not provide a legal green light for targeted killing. o'connell said in an e-mail, finally he adds the argument that the u.s. may use force against states that are unable or unwilling to attack. this argument has no basis in international law. it simply does not exist. so regardless of how carefully you target under the law of armed conflict, there is no right in the first instance to
target at all. mr. president, without yielding the floor, i'd like to entertain a question from the senator from utah. mr. lee: you recently sent a letter -- senator paul recently sent a letter requesting some information from the obama administration with regard to these issues relating to drone strikes. it is significant that on march 4, 2013, just a couple of days ago, senator paul received back a letter from the administration that reads as follows. it says, "dear senator paul" -- this is signed by attorney general eric holder jr. "on february 20, 2013, you wrote to john brennan requesting additional information concerning the administration's views about whether the president has the power to
authorize legal force such as a drone strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and without a trial. as members of this administration previously indicated, the u.s. government has not carried out drone strikes in the united states and has no intention of doing so. as a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. we have a long history of using the criminal justice system to incapacitate individuals located in our country who pose a threat to the united states and its interests abroad. hundreds of individuals have been arrested and convicted of terrorism-related offenses in our federal courts. the question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. it is possible, i suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the constitution and
applicable laws of the united states for the president to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the united states. for example, the president could conceiveably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on december 7, 1941, and september 11, 2001. were such an emergency to arise, i would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president on the scope of his authority. sincerely, eric h. holder, jr., attorney general. though it is good to have this letter as a response to senator paul's inquiry -- and i believe that the inquiry senator paul raised is a legitimate one -- it is also essential that we have some clarity with regard to the administration's position on
this type of an attack. it is important for us to remember that every time government acts, it does so at the expense of the liberty of individual americans. this doesn't mean that government action is bad. this simply means that government action always has to be weighed, has to be counterbalanced against the impact that it has on the citizenry. it's very important that we approach these things delicately. nowhere is this balancing act more necessary than where we have circumstances in which government, threatens not just the liberty, but also the property or, most importantly, the life of an individual american, where life is threatened, the concerns of the constitution are at their highest. where life is threatened as a result of government action, the government owes it to the citizens to undertake all of its
activities with utmost caution. it owes it to its citizens never to deprive human beings of their lives, particularly american citizens. and unless it has done so through operation of law, with what we call due process of law. it is on this concept -- due process of law -- that the 5th and 14th amendments of our constitution focus so intently. due process of law is a familiar phrase to many americans. we've heard this phrase over and over and over again. we understand on some level what it means. but i'd like to talk for a few minutes in response to senator paul's question about the fact that in order to have due process of law, you have to have a familiar legal standard, or at least a legal standard. you have to have a law that is capable of being applied in a way that american citizens can
understand. they can read the law, they can review it, they can understand what the law requires of them. they can understand what it is that the law demands and what it is that the law authorizes the government to do. you see, because in the absence of such a law, a law that can be applied, a law that can be understood in advance of its application, you run a very real risk of arbitrary and capricious government action, where government action is arbitrary and capricious and where it threatens to undermine life, liberty or property. but especially life. you have the greatest level of concern where greatest level of detail must be examined with regard to what the government wants to do. so in this circumstance, where the question relates to whether, under what circumstances, to what extent the government may take an american life, the
government may snuff out the life of an individual american citizen, the government has an obligation to see to it and to assure its citizens that it won't ever undertake such an action without due process of law, to have due process of law you've got to have a discernible legal standard. a discernible legal standard is not entirely evident on the face of this letter. it's understandable. this is just a letter of brief response to senator paul's inquiry. it is a little bit troubling that attorney general eric holder doesn't do more to assure senator paul in this response to his letter that these kaoeufpbdz actions -- kinds of actions wouldn't be necessary to undertake on american soil, that these kinds of actions would be fraught with constitutional problems or when undertaken on american soil. it's difficult to understand why the attorney general wouldn't just say we won't do this. this would be fraught with
constitutional problems. this is not something we would do. also troubling is the related point that the attorney general has apparently relied on some legal analysis provided by the chief advisory body within the u.s. department of justice. the u.s. department of justice is something that one might loosely describe as the largest law firm in the united states. it is the law firm of the federal government. and within any law firm, you've got lawyers who do different things. you've got lawyers who specialize primarily in litigation. you've got lawyers who specialize primarily in drafting agreements or in giving advice to people. the office of legal counsel within the u.s. department of justice is the chief advisory office within d.o.j. it was the office of legal counsel that drafted one or more memos outlining the circumstances in which the obama
administration might consider undertaking actions involving lethal force against american citizens. sadly, most of us in the united states senate have been unable to review those. the american people generally have been unable to review them. but it is particularly frustrating that those of us who are members of the senate judiciary committee and, therefore, have an oversight responsibility over the u.s. department of justice have not been fortunate enough to review the memorandum upon which the obama administration has apparently relied in undertaking this legal analysis. i had the opportunity to question and did question this morning attorney general eric holder with regard to these memoranda, explaining to him the great need that we have to be able to review these memoranda, particularly as members of the senate judiciary committee. i explained to him that this is
part of our oversight responsibility, that this is our duty. it is our right to see such documents and that it's very frustrating that we have not been allowed to see such documents. i added to that my concern that what we do have is a different document, not the office of legal counsel memorandum, but instead something that is captioned simply as the department of justice white paper. i always thought that was an interesting phrase: white paper. i don't know why they feel the need to call it that, why they don't just call it a paper. normally we don't have legal analysis or other important documents written on green paper or orange paper or any other colored paper. nonetheless, they call it a white paper. this paper was leaked by the obama administration to the news media. and this particular paper
purported to contain some analysis perhaps in summary form, the same type of analysis in what was used in the still secret department of justice legal memorandum. there were a couple of things i found disturbing about the white paper. first the white paper focused on the fact that the u.s. government may use lethal force to kill an american citizen only where there is an imminent threat of some sort. where the other conditions outlined in the memorandum are satisfied, there still has to be an imminent threat some of sort, an imminent threat that the lethal -- the use of lethal force by the government on the u.s. citizen in question is designed to confront. well, that is somewhat familiar legal term, it's used in other contexts to identify a
circumstance in which one thing has to occur in order to prevent something else even worse from happening. an individual, for example, when confronted with an imminent threat to his or her own life, his entitled to use lethal force in defending. or herself in order -- him or herself in in order to avoid de. but it has to be an imminent threat. there are other examples. when a person argues that certain action was undertaken under duress, there does have to be some degree of imminence. and it is appropriate in this circumstance, and we're talking about authorizing the government, the federal government of the united states of america to use lethal force on an american citizen. there ought to be some sort of imminent threat to american national security that necessitates and fully justifies that action.
but the strange tbhing the white -- thing about the white paper leaked by the obama administration to the news media is that it redefined "imminence." it redefined it completely, it defined it sabo something else, something that bears no resemblance to what you or i would call an imminent threat and it seemed to suggest that an imminent threat may occur even when there was nothing that is about to occur on an immediate basis that would involve a loss of american life or an attack on an american compound or installation or any kind of a loss or a deprivation to american national security. so this is a problem. you see, because as we discussed just a few minutes ago, in order to have due process of law you have to have law operating and you have to have law operating as something other than a tool to justify
arbitrary and capricious behavior by government. you have to have a discernible judicially manageable legal standard, even if it's something that's never going to go through a court, it needs to be a legal standard that means something. that has teeth to it. that doesn't just say government officials may undertake action x, y, or z if the government official in question feels moved upon to take such action. there needs to be something that has the capacity to restrain government action, and it needs to be on the basis of and operation of generally applicable standard, generally applicable rules of law. that's what we mean when we say due process. and, again, due process and the restrictions that accompany it are at their highest when government wants to take an
action that is designed to or could lead to the ending of a human life. the sanctity of human life requires nothing less. than that. now, there is another part of the memo that was also a little bit disturbing. the other part of the memo suggested that, you know, it would, of course, be necessary in order to carry out an action involving lethal force against an american citizen, that efforts to capture that individual would somehow prove to be futile, that those efforts wouldn't work. but there again, the definition supplied by the white paper suggested something else. the language of the white paper
suggested almost that the government official in question, in charge of this decision to end an menders' life -- american citizen's life could be made somewhat ash are trairl, capriciously. this is a problem. you don't want somebody siting there one day having the authority to say, you know, so and so is a troublemaker. so and so shouldn't be there. so and so has been involved in some very bad actors. so and so may in fact be a bad individual, may in fact be associated with people who want to harm the interests of the united states, or may even have been involved in planning attacks on the united states. you don't want the government official in question to be able to end that american citizen's life just on the basis of flimsy analysis, on a toothless legal standard. you want the american people to continue to be able to live
under the rule of law. and with an understanding that actions of government, particularly those aksz that are designed -- actions that are designed to bring an end to a human being's life, won't be undertaken lightly. you see, that's what it means to live in a society that operates under the rule of law as opposed to the rule of individual human beings. is that we have standards, we reduce those standards to writing, those standards that are rules that are generally accepted and generally applicable that govern the conduct of individuals in society, both the governors and the governed, will themselves determine the behavior of those involved in our society. and so our law of laws, our rule of rules, our most fundamental law is the u.s. constitution, this 225-year-old document that i happen to believe was written by the hands of wise men raised up by their creator to that very purpose.
wise men who understood human nature, wise menmen who understand whenever you put an individual in charge of a lot of other individuals there are risks, risks that are inherent in human nature. risks that can be managed if you put certain checks and balances in place, checks and balances that will ensure that no one person, no one group of people will become so powerful as to become a law unto themselves. that you see, is what this document, our constitution, the constitution of the united states, was designed to ensure. that we as americans would live free, we would live free because our laws would govern us, not the whims, the caprice of individuals. now, i do have here another letter that i'd like to share. this is a letter that was sent to my friend senator paul from
mr. john brennan, currently serving as assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. this letter is dated from just earlier this week, in fact, it's dated march 5, 2013. here's what it says. dear senator paul, thank you for your february 2220, 2013 letter regarding the power to authorize lethal force. such as a drone strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and without trial. the department of justice will address your legal question regarding the president's authorities under separate power. i can, however, state unequivocally that the agency i've been nominated to lead, the c.i.a., does not conduct lethal operations inside the united states, nor does it have any authority to do so. thus i am fortunate -- if i am fortunate enough to be confirmed
as c.i.a. director by have no power to authorize such operations. in addition i've asked the scieptd cite to respond -- c.i.a. to respond to your elisabeth of february 5, 2013 which raise a number of important questions regarding issues pertaining to the advancement of america's strategic priorities around the globe. sincerely, john o. brennan. this is helpful. this is a helpful indication from a government official, government official who has been nominated to head the central intelligence agency who acknowledged that if he is confirmed to this position, he would have no authority as the director of the c.i.a. to order lethal drone strikes within the united states and that's helpful it is still significant, i think, that we be allowed to ask from time to time what the
c.i.a. might do with regard to other persons, other persons, including u.s. citizens outside the united states, under what circumstances a lethal drone strike or a different type of lethal force might be appropriate when directed toward an american citizen outside the united states. notice one phrase that he uses in this letter. when he says such as a drone strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and without a trial. whenever we're talking about any person within our jurisdiction, whenever we're talking about an american citizen regardless of where that american citizen might be found, it seems to me that we do owe that person certain responsibilities. we owe that person the duty of following the law, of following
our most fundamental law, the u.s. constitution, and following other statutory authorities that we have in place, specifically to protect the rights and the interests, the life and the liberty and the property of the american people. we're told that those things cannot be taken by the government without due process of law. now, normally when we take away someone's life or their liberty or their property, normally we entitle that person to a trial, and this is where our constitutional protections overlap a little bit and they complement each other. so we have in the fifth amendment this protection that says that no person shall be dpiefd of life, liberty or property without due process of law and there again that entails at a bare minimum the operation of these generally applicable laws that actually have some standards to them.
it typically also involves quite necessarily an opportunity on the part of the person being acted upon by government to have a trial, so we have elsewhere in the constitution other protections that guarantee this. we have protections indicating that if a person is charged with a crime by our government under the sixth amendment they have a right to a jury trial. and they have a right to counsel in connection with that trial. they have a right even to counsel paid for by the government if they can't afford an attorney in connection with that. the seventh amendment likewise protection the right to a trial in the context of civil disputes. so these and other protections overlap to guarantee that americans will have due process. and frequently what due process
entails among other things is the provision of a jury trial. you see, juries do perform an important function. juries are there to help protect our rights. when we have a jury of our peers deciding critical questions with regard to our interests in life, in liberty, in property, we see to it that a panel of lay persons, a panel of nongovernment officials, a panel of citizens who have sworn an oath to do justice will do precisely that. and they will not shrink from the obligation to enforce the competition -- to enforce the demands of the constitution. they will not shrink to enforce the demands of the law. they will not shrink from their duties and they will not see themselves as part of a government establishment. you see, this is how our constitution protects us. it inspeculates us -- inslaitsz
us from the government because we are the people and we, the people, control the government. we, the people have the right to a jury trial and when we actually get a jury trial, we're able to see our rights protected. so senator paul, in response to your question, i do think that there are some problems that we confront as a society. i think that the security of the united states is, of course, of paramount importance. we need to protect american national security, to protect americans and as we do so we also need to protect the inalienable rights of individual americans to the due process guarantees that are hundreds of years old, that extend at least as far back as the drafting and ratification of our constitution and of, of course, much older than that. they are centuries, indeed, they are millennia old. we must continue to honor them.
mr. paul: mr. president, i'd like to thank the senator from utah for his expert constitutional analysis, and i rely on his advice and analysis of legislation and want to thank him very much for being part of this debate. we are in contact with the white house and we've told the white house that we will allow debate on brennan as soon as they'll give a clarification of what their opinion is on drone strikes in america. i think really that after holder's cross-examination that his opinion may not be too far off from what we're asking for but we want it clarified in writing because we think this is an important battle for the american public and an important battle for the constitution, and so if the president or the attorney general will promise to give us something, even give us something by morning, we're more than willing to go ahead with the vote in the morning with that information.
and at this time, mr. president, without yielding the field i'd like to entertain a question from the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. broadcast: i come to the floor to the senate in great admiration with the senator from kentucky in what he's doing. we're asked to give advise and consent on this important nominee to be head of the central intelligence agency. the key to central intelligence in this nation. so i come to the floor this evening to thank my colleague from kentucky for the leadership that he has continued to show by asking questions which are not just questions of his. these are questions of the american people. i was traveling around the state of wyoming last week talking to folks. went to 13 different counties in our state of 23 counties. many questions being asked about
drones. not just their accuracy but the intent in what this administration's policy is relating to drones and how they can be used. people in my home state of wyoming are concerned about drones being used in the united states not just specifically for attacks against american citizens, but also the concept in observation, in surveillance. what about our rights as citizens to privacy? so those are the questions that come up as i travel around the state. i had a telephone town hall meeting the other evening with many people from all around wyoming on the line. they admire the questioning from the senator from kentucky. they have concerns about what is -- is big brother watching? what is happening? and what role is government in observing and surveillance and looking into the lives of the american people. but it wasn't really until senator paul asked the question
of would there be strikes on american citizens in america that i think things really became very focused at home and all around the country. then we got more e-mails, more concerns because these are questions and the specific question that senator paul is asking is a question on the minds of americans and i believe senator paul deserves an answer. the american people deserve an answer. it's not just senator paul that deserves an answer. it's an answer to all the people of this country. i appreciate senator paul's leadership in asking the specific question. now the intelligence committee, the select committee on intelligence met. they had hearings. they had debates, discussions, deliberations and actually they voted. and that's why we are here on the floor tonight to ask finally from the white house and from the nominee what the specific position and policy of this administration happens to be on
drones. i know we have a unanimous consent request from senator paul. i'm going to in a second ask him to explain and maybe reiterate his unanimous consent request, explaining the resolution that he would like to vote on. i think the senator deserves a vote. we want to make sure the public understands what we are discussing here. and that's why i appreciate the leadership of senator lee who has come here as a constitutional scholar to address some of these same concerns, because i think before many senators are able to may be the final decision -- able to make the final decision on how to vote, how to give advice and consent to the white house, that we need more information. we need to hear from the white house. we need to hear from the administration because the people all around the country want those same questions answered. we do have a situation where the senator from kentucky said he is
willing to have a vote. he is willing to allow a vote on this nominee on the floor of the united states senate as soon as his question is answered, and he would be happy to proceed with that vote as early as tomorrow morning. the american people deserve better than they're getting right now from this administration in so many ways, this just being one. and that is why i think all of us try to go home every weekend to see what's on the minds of folks in our home states, in our home communities. but this is clearly what i have been hearing about traveling around wyoming, a state of vast, open spaces, a state of great majesty and beauty, but a state where people are concerned with their own privacy, with overhead surveillance and of course not just their own personal privacy, but their security. and, you know, what are the rights and responsibilities of a national government when now technology exists, as we've seen
with drones. i had the privilege of visiting our soldiers overseas in afghanistan with a number of senators in january. we have seen up close through detailed video the capabilities of drones, capabilities just weren't there that many years ago. questions like this would have never arisen a number of years ago because the technology wasn't there. but now the technology is there. and with that given technology that raises new questions -- and that's why i think so many americans are appreciative of the work by senator paul to specifically ask questions that have never been asked before because the technology wasn't there before. but now we have the technology. we have the know-how. and the question continues to be asked. so i would ask my friend and colleague from kentucky if he could explain perhaps his unanimous consent, what vote he's asking for, why it is so
important, what it means to all of us as free citizens in this great nation. mr. paul: mr. president, i would like to thank the senator from wyoming for coming to the floor and helping to advance this debate. one of the points you made towards the end, that was made towards the end is about our soldiers that you visited and seen the capacity of the drones. the one thing that shouldn't be lost in this is that we're not here arguing against the use of drones, particularly in defense of our military. when people are shooting at our soldiers, i want the best equipment we have in the world to defend them and to win our battles. that's something that we should all want. but i think our american soldiers would be disappointed in us here at home if they felt like -- which i think many of them do who i've spoken to -- that they're fighting there for our bill of rights. they're fighting for our constitution. they're fighting for our conception of freedom. and in doing so, i think they would be disappointed if they
felt like the drones that were being used against the enemy in the mountains of afghanistan and pakistan were going to be used against americans in america without any kind of due process. because the whole idea of the constitution, that's what they're fighting for. it's what the president has pledged to uphold and preserve. so it's such an important battle. the unanimous consent that we put forward, which we had hoped they would let us vote on in the morning also, but they have disagreed with, basically says that the use of drones to execute or target american citizens on american soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates the constitutional due process of citizens, the due process rights of citizens. the point we're trying to get at, which i think the administration, really it ought to be an easy question. we're not talking about someone attacking the twin towers. we're in agreement that the
military can repulse attacks by american citizens in planes. some of the hijackers, i don't know if any of them were citizens or not -- yeah, some of them were citizens, i think. the point is no matter who you are, if you're attacking the united states, you can be repelled and lethal force can be used. the point is, though, that we're concerned some of the drone strikes overseas are done to people who are not involved in combat at the time. and that's another question. but here at home, i think really we don't want to have a standard where someone who we think might be a terrorist or we think might be engaged in something, who is in a restaurant eating dinner would be killed. and i think that we want more protections for americans. we want, if you're accused of a crime, to have the ability to defend yourself in a court of law. but i would, without relinquishing the floor, be happy to entertain any other
questions. mr. barrasso: mr. president, i would comment and ask my colleague if this is something he might have heard about at home as well? because this is something clearly on the minds of the people of wyoming. just like kentucky -- and i will tell you when i was overseas in afghanistan, i ran into, not just soldiers from wyoming and met eight of them in four different locations i went to throughout afghanistan. i met soldiers from kentucky. we're both from states with significant commitment to our military as people over the centuries have continued to fight and defend our freedoms. but today in afghanistan we have soldiers from my home state and your home state doing what they do to keep us free, defending the bill of rights, defending the constitution. and when we talk about the bill of rights, let's think about what ronald reagan said.
the bill of rights wasn't established, it was not established to protect the government from the people. it was established to protect the people from the government. search and seizure, freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. second amendment rights to own and bear arms. those are the constitutional rights, individual rights that people are fighting for every day in afghanistan. and they want to know when they get home what sort of freedoms are there going to be in this country. where does the role of liberty and freedom in our society? and that's why there is no better time, i would say, mr. president, than this evenin before voting on the nominee to be the director of the central intelligence agency, the head of the c.i.a. for the country. what better time than to have this debate than during that nomination process about what are the -- where is that line between freedoms of individual citizens and the rights after
government which now has a technology which hasn't really been there up until most recently. so i would ask my friend and colleague, one, congratulate him and thank him for remarkable leadership. and i hear that all around my home state, and i know you hear it at home as well. you hear it all around the country. but is this a concern on the minds of people? is there a reason that we are here to bring this out, not just because a couple of senators are on the floor debating it, but this is a crucial issue for this nation. mr. paul: mr. president, one of the things i hear at home, similar to what the senator from wyoming is talking about, is that we hear people worried about the erosion of their rights. they worry about statements from the president when the president says that he intends to protect the constitution, and except for maybe when it's infeasible or when it's inconvenient.
i think that worries people. one of the other things about drones which is not particularly related to this necessarily strike, but i know in wyoming i bet they have the same concerns is our farmers aren't too happy about the government flying drones over their property. that's something we had an interesting vote on that last year. we had a vote on whether or not the e.p.a. could continue these without explaining. it's sort of similar to this fight in the sense that we want to stop the drone flights over farms. it was an easy request until we got the government to explain what kind of criteria what kind of rules they were using for flying over farms. we got 56 senators to vote to ban these drone flights until we got more information. but it's like a lot of other things in the senate. it took 60 votes. we didn't actually quite win even though we had a majority. with regard to what we're trying accomplish with this, another
thing we would like is a public acknowledgement from the president or the attorney general saying their policy is not to kill noncombatants in america. many of the drone strikes overseas have been noncombatants, at least at the time they're killed they're not involved in combat. i don't think that it's too much to ask the president to clarify that what he means is the u.s. can repel invasion, the u.s. can repel attacks, whether they are american citizens or not. we don't have a dispute with that. our concern is that when you look at the drone program overseas that a lot of people are sitting around eating, walking, sleeping in their house, that that's not sort of a program i can imagine using in the united states. i can't imagine that we're going to have drone strikes on people while they're asleep in their home or whether they're out eating in a cafe or eating in a restaurant. i can't imagine that that's the standard we're going to use. maybe it's just a
misunderstanding. maybe the president could clear this up. when attorney general holder was there this morning, the senator from texas asked him this question, and under pointed questioning, it seemed as if he was backing towards an answer that might be acceptable. he said it wasn't appropriate but really what we're looking for from, you know, the lead legal officer from the president and from the president is something a little more precise than "i don't intend to" or a little more precise than, you know, it's not appropriate. wield like -- we would like him to say they don't have legal authority to kill americans on american soil. we just don't believe they do. targeted drone strikes in america, i don't think that they have the legal authority nor the constitutional prerogative to do this and they just need to admit to that. but it's len ben like pulling teeth getting information or getting them to acknowledge anything and that's what our goal is. our goal is to try to get the
president to acknowledge something publicly. more so than any kind of legislation, we do have some legislation we're interested in, we're not demanding that it pass in order to let this nomination go forward. what we're asking for is that we'll let them have a vote any time they want if they will at least give us a little more of a clear understanding that they're going to obey the law. it took a month and a half for us to get the response from them that the c.i.a. doesn't operate in the united states. that just is the law. it's been the law since 1947. you wouldn't think it's that hard to get them to acknowledge they're going to obey the law. the posse comitatus law has been there since the 1860's. it says the military doesn't operate in the united states either. how hard is it for the administration to say we're going to adhere to the posse come pat at that time us law, we're not going to use the military of the united states. that clarifies quite a few
things because if they think they're going to kill americans with the f.b.i., we know the f.b.i. works under the rules of the constitution. i would think at that point we're get something where, at least moving in the right direction. we're really not looking for something where we permanently stop the president from getting his political appointees. i've mentioned previously i voted for three of the president's political appoint appointees. and the thing is that my point in being here really doesn't have so much to do with the c.i.a. director as it has to do with the policy of the administration on drones. he just happens to have been in charge of the policy on drones and the c.i.a. has something to do with drones overseas, but at least brennan has been forthright and finally come forward with a letter that says the c.i.a. doesn't operate in the united states. unfortunately, attorney general holder's response has been somewhat muddled in the sense that he kind of says we haven't
yet, we don't intend to, but we might. now, he says there is an extraordinary circumstance but his extraordinary circumstance doesn't quite make any sense because it's 9/11 or pearl harbor. both of those instances, you would react immediately to stop somebody but they wouldn't be targeted drone strikes because i can't swra imagine we would know the person's name and who they are when they're 234r50eug a plane into a building. we would respond but wouldn't have a targeted drone strike. it's sort of answering a question that wasn't asked. at this time, madam president, i don't like without yielding the floor entertain a question from the senator from wyoming. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president,. i've been able to kind of put my hand on the letter that senator paul has written to john brennan on february 20 and this is something i believe brought out -- really brought to the focus the key piece of what has
been on the kind of the people of my home state with regard to their support for what the question that senator paul is asking. so since i don't serve on that committee and wasn't part of the hearings, i'd like to review through this letter so i can get to specifically ask senator paul about the response that he has received to this and maybe we can share that with the american people as to why so many folks who have been focused on this believe it's a key and important. and the letter from senator paul is dear mr. brennan in consideration of your nomination to be director of the central intelligence agency, the c.i.a., he writes, i have repeatedly questioned you provide answers to several questions clarifying your role in the approval of lethal force against terrorism suspects, particularly those those who are u.s. citizens. it goes on to say your past actions in this regard as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject are of critical importance in assessing
your qualifications to lead the c.i.a. and, madam president, i mean that's what we're doing. we're here in our role as advise and consent to the president on a nomination he has made. the letter goes on, if it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the executive branch by the constitution, then the senate should not confirm you to lead the c.i.a. and i will tell you, madam president, the people of wyoming carry their constitutions in their breast pockets, we have them with us just as senator bob byrd use teed to do on the senate floor, many members of the senate do. we need to make sure the limits placed upon the executive branch by the constitution are still upheld, otherwise the senate should not confirm mr. brennan to lead the c.i.a. so the letter from senator paul goes on to say, during are confirmation brothers prost in the select senate ebt select committee on intelligence, committee members have quite appropriately made requests
similar to questions i've raised on in my previous letter to you. madam president, i agree. members of the committee did not did make -- did make appropriate requests and wanted to have those same questions answered that senator paul has been offering. and they are that you expound on your views, your views, mr. brennan, on the limits of executive power in using lethal force against united states citizens. this is against united states citizens, especially when operating on u.s. soil. and that, madam president, is the fundamental of the questions that i have been asked during telephone town halls as well as i travel the state of wyoming. it comes down to the use of lethal force against u.s. citizens especially when operating on u.s. soil. so the letter from senator paul goes on to say in fact, the chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence, senator feinstein, specifically asked you in post-hearing
questions for the record, for the record, madam president, for the record whether the administration could carry out drone strikes inside the united states. we are now getting to the crux of the matter, drone strikes inside the united states. senator paul goes on, in your response you emphasize that the administration -- quote -- "has not carried out" -- close quote -- has not carried out such strikes and -- quote --"has no intention of doing so." has not done it, doesn't intend to do it but it doesn't answer the question that senator paul and the people of his home state and the people of my home state and the people all across this country are asking. senator paul goes on in his letter to mr. brennan, i do not find this response sufficient. the question, he says, that i and many others have asked -- and they are asking it and as are people are following what the senator from kentucky is doing here, more and more people are asking and focusing on this specific question, the
question that i and many others have asked asked is not whether the administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the united states, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. whether it has the authority to do so. not whit has carried them out, not whether it intends to but does it have the authority to do so. this is an important distinction that should not -- and i would add, and cannot -- be ignored. the letter goes on, just last week president obama also avoided this question. so the president has avoided the question, when posed to him directly. instead of addressing the question of whether the administration could kill a u.s. citizen on american soil, the president used a similar line that -- quote -- "there has never been a drone used on an american citizen on american
soil." well, we believe that. we will that to be the case. weecialg that's the president's belief, we will that's the testimony of the nominee to be the c.i.a. director but it avaidz the question. -- avaidz -- evades the question. the evasive replies from the administration to this valid question have only confused the issue further, without getting us any closer to the actual answer. so not whether they have intent, or whether they've done it before, but do they have the authority to do so. this is the distinction which senator paul is trying to get at, as are many americans around the country who who are tuning in to this important debate. senator paul goes on to say, for that reason in his letter to john brennan, for that reason he said, i once again request you answer the following question. the question is, do you believe that the president has the power
to authorize lethal force such as a drone strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil, and without trial? let me repeat. request you answer the following question: do you believe that the president has the power to authorize lethal force such as a drone strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and without trial? senator paul goes on to say i believe the only acceptable answer to this is no. and that's what the american people believe as well. so senator paul concludes until you directly and clearly answer, i plan to use every procedural option at my disposal to delay your confirmation and bring added scrutiny to this issue and the administration's policies of the use of lethal force. the american people, he says, are rightly concerned and they deserve a frank and open
discussion of these policies. so i come to the senate floor tonight in support of my colleague, and agree with what he is writing to john brennan because the fundamental question is do you believe the president has the power to authorize lethal force such as a drone strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil, and without trial? senator paul goes on, i believe the only acceptable answer to this is no. so i would ask senator paul if he could perhaps add a little light, this letter was sent to mr. brennan on february 20, it's now march 6, i know there's been ben some give and take and back and forth, but the fundamental question question is one that is on the minds of the people of my home state of wyoming as i traveled the state in the last weeks. mr. paul: madam president, we sent our first letter to john
brennan i believe towards the latter part of january. we got no response. we sent him a second letter in the first or second week of february and got no response. and then we sent our third letter which i believe is the letter that you were reading from, and that was a couple of weeks ago. we got no response to any of these letters. however, when the committee, both republicans and democrats, were holding up his nomination last week and the chairman of the committee asked for a response, all of a sudden we got a response. the response from brennan was actually encouraging, and that response i believe was this morning or yesterday, the days kind of run together and that response was basically the c.i.a. doesn't have the authority to operate in the united states, and that's the rule, it's the law since 1947, national security act. our concern, though, is that
the attorney general's response has been a little more vague. basically that they haven't done any killings in the u.s. yet, they don't have any intention to but they might. the problem with the "might" part is they've left it rig cie kind of vague. they said it would have to be comploord but they point out -- extraordinary but they point out two circumstances where you wouldn't have targeted drone strikes, pearl harbor and 9/11. in both of those instances, i think it is appropriate we would have responded militarily and we should respond militarily but you wouldn't have targeted drone strikes. you might use drones but you wouldn't be targeted drone strikes because you'd be responding to someone immediately attacking you and you wouldn't know who they are. i think we can all agree you can respond to lethal force at any point in time. our concern has been the drone program often targets people who are not involved in combat and it's hard for me to imagine we
have would have people who -- i don't know if they're conspiring or what they're doing, but talking to another individual in a cafe or a restaurant we wouldn't arrest them. the ranking member on the intelligence committee made a good point. he said particularly if they're in a noncombat area in the united states, wouldn't you want to arrest them to get some organization in from them -- information from them to see if they're a threat, one to see if they're innocent or guilty, but if they are guilty you might be able to get information from them by interrogating them. you asked the question about what are the limitations. that's ultimately what we're asking brennan, eric holder, the attorney general, and the president. what limitations do you see to your authority? now, the president takes an oath and says he's going to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and he says he will do that but he doesn't really -- the oath doesn't say i intend to do that. it says i will preserve, protect and defend the constitution. the problem we have is that when
john brennan has been asked what are the limitations to your authority, his response has been that we have no go jee owe graphic limit,: owe graphic limitations and he says he gets that from the u.s. of authorization of force to go to war in afghanistan. with that is i don't think people who voted for that intended there would be no limitations, that you could have war anywhere. the question is, is there a limitation at the u.s. border? there is a law, posse comitatus from after the civil war says the military doesn't operate here. it's not because we think the military are bad people. we should have different rules for the military. our soldiers aren't used to dealing with due process. we don't make them. in a battlefield where you're shooting people you don't ask people for their miranda rights. you don't have to get a jury trial. there is none of that going on in a battlefield. so soldiers don't have to deal with that. police have different rules of engagement and they're required to deal with that. we want there to be a process
because we've always been concerned in our country. we broke away from the mother country in england because we were concerned about too much power. we wanted that power to be reined in. so our biggest problem is that when they say they have no geographic limitations, that that include america. that was our next question. senator wyden asked brennan in the committee: do you have the authority to do strikes in america? john brennan's answer, this was the first answer before we got the second answer, was we want to optimize transparency and we want to optimize secrecy. that was his conclusion. it's like what does that mean? that's where we got more and more involved with asking this question and asking it repeatedly. i think there are limitations. ultimately there is a limitation to the constitution. but also there is a big debate that needs to go on about what are the limitations we voted on when we went to war. i was in favor of doing everything possible to those who attacked us on 9/11.
we had need to figure out what completion of that mission is and whether or not that use of authorization and force is open-ended forever or whether or not we're going to vote on that again, which i think means when you vote on it again you retain that power and bring it back to the senate and to the congress. it doesn't mean we won't do it again but we should have a vote and debate again if we're going to have another war. at this time without relinquishing the floor, i'd be happy to entertain another question from the senator from wyoming. mr. lee: thank you, madam president. what i heard -- mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. these questions were asked in a bipartisan way. i heard senator wyden from oregon had similar questions. this was a request for information. i have been able to find a copy now for the first time of that january 25 letter that senator paul referenced to john brennan, sent to him in his capacity as assistant to the president for homeland security and terrorism. i wanted to go through some of
that and perhaps ask senator paul some specific questions related to it because it's my understanding that he has not gotten the kind of response to that. i think the senator mentioned three specific letters. first the january 25 letter. then the letter of february 14. and then the letter of february 20 which asks the ultimate question of do you believe that the president has the power to authorize lethal force such as a drone strike against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and without trial? now i have all three of those letters sent by senator paul to mr. brennan in his capacity currently as the assistant to the president for homeland security, and now the nominee to be the head of the central intelligence agency. the letter goes, "as the national moves forward with its consideration of your nomination to be the next director of the central intelligence agency, it will be necessary to examine not
only your qualifications and record, but also to determine whether you will provide the necessary leadership as the head of an agency that operates under unique rules. unique rules for transparency and they quietly hold significant influence over the advancement of america's strategic priorities around the globe. no other agency is like the c.i.a. unique rules for transparency." so senator paul goes on, "after reviewing your record as well as the record of president obama to whom you have provided a great deal of advice and direction on issues of national security and terrorism, i must ask several questions to help inform my decision on your nomination." and that's what a responsible senator does, a senator who has taken seriously his advice and consent to the president, a key nominee that operates under unique rules for transparency. i think it's absolutely
appropriate that senator paul would write such a letter and the kwez raised are those, many of which have been raised in a bipartisan way. question number one: do you agree with the argument put forth on numerous occasions by the executive branch that it is legal to order the killing of american citizens and that it is not compelled to explain its reasoning in reaching that conclusion? do you believe this is a good precedent for the government to set? what better clear question to ask than that? he goes on, congress has been denied access to legal opinions and interpretations authorizing placement of u.s. citizens believed to be engaged in terrorism on targeting lists. thus denying congress the ability to perform the important role of oversight. oversight is a key, critical role of this branch of government, of congress. senator paul goes on, we will provide access to those opinions as well as will you provide access to those opinions as well as future opinions?
very reasonable request. the senator says would it not be appropriate to require a judge or a court to review every case before the individual in question is added to a targeting list. legitimate question. please describe the due process requirements in place for those individuals being considered for addition to a targeting list. would you agree it is paradoxical that the federal government would need to go before a judge to authorize a wiretap of a u.s. citizen overseas but possibly not to order a lethal drone strike against the same individual? i want to go back to this question when i'm visiting with senator paul but this is the kind of thing i get asked in wyoming. would you agree it is paradoxical that the federal government would need to go before a judge to authorize a wiretap on a u.s. citizen overseas?
but possibly not to order a lethal drone strike against the same individual? so what you'd have to do tpufpted to perform a wiretap would be more than you have to do than if you wanted to perform a drone strike. if not, senator paul goes on to ask please explain why you believe something similar to the act should not be protected? is it still your intent to codify and normalize the disposition? a targeting list you helped to establish. this would be haoufrt and counter-- homeland security that you helped to establish to direct counterterrorism operations in future administration as well as the targeted killing procedures you have outlined in your play book? and then he goes on, senator paul goes on to asked beside the president how many people have
access to the full disposition matrix. of those how many of those participate in the process? how many have the authority to veto an individual's inclusion? madam president, this is a very thoughtful letter from senator paul to mr. brennan dated january 25, 2013. and i just want to continue to share with the american people the questions that have been asked here by senator paul because i think they're so telling and so appropriate. how many times have you specifically objected to an individual's inclusion on a targeting list? how many times have you recommended to the president against including an individual on the targeting list? these are questions that people want to know the answers to. how often are the criteria used for determining whether an individual should be included on a targeting list amended? not simply reviewed, madam president. he's not asking about a review. he's asking about an amendment. how many government officials and which agencies participate in establishing these criteria?
does the national counterterrorism center have final say over all criteria? madam president, anybody who watches this issue closely has asked these questions, wants to know answers. of those individuals who have been, but are no longer included -- so those individuals who have been but are no longer included in the disposition matrix or other targeting list, how many have already been killed? how many have been removed from the list by other means? how many individuals remain in the disposition matrix or other targeting list stph-s how does the number compare to the number in prior years? is the number growing? is the number shrinking? is the number static? what is happening to those numbers? how many u.s. citizens have been added to the disposition matrix or other targeting lists? how many remain on the list? how many u.s. citizens have been intentionally killed by u.s. drone strikes since 2008? how many have been
unintentionally killed by u.s. drone strikes during that same period of time? in how many countries has the u.s. executed a drone strike against a presumed terrorist? in each of the countries where the u.s. has execute add drone strike in the past four years please provide a year-to-year estimate of those who self-identify or otherwise associate with al qaeda within that country. and, madam president, i come to read this as somebody who has come to see the capacity of the drones. i see the junior senator from texas has been on the floor as well. he and i traveled together to afghanistan. we have been able to see directly video from drone strikes. we know the capacity. we know their ability to target precisely. and these are questions that in previous wars were not asked because the technology was not there. but now these are questions that
are asked, that are being asked, which is why i'm so grateful for the leadership of senator paul in asking these questions. the letter goes on, "you have indicated that no credible evidence exists to support recent claims of civilian casualties resulting from u.s. drone strikes. " this is the letter from senator paul to john brennan. please indicate how you define credible evidence and what process is in place to evaluate the legitimacy of alleged civilian casualties. he asks which countries publicly stated their support for u.s. drone strikes within their territory? have any publicly indicated support for u.s. drone strikes in the long term? in this letter, how relevant is the opinion of the public in the countries where u.s. drone strikes are ongoing? in those countries, he goes on, how would you characterize public opinion toward u.s. drone strikes? in light of civilian casualties caused by the extensive use of drone strikes under your guidance, senator paul asks, do you continue to stand by your
remark that, quote, sometimes you have to take lives to save lives? do you condone the practice of taking lives by drone strikes because they were in close proximity of a target? do you believe such accounting paints an accurate picture of our drone program? these questions deserve answers before anyone makes a vote "yes" or "no." what changes to the c.i.a. review process will you put in place or have you attempted to put in place in your previous role to prevent further unintentional killing of u.s. citizens? who role will you play in approving the drone strike? what role did you play in approving the drone strike that led to the death of underage citizen, anwar al-alwaki? unlike his father, he has not renounced his u.s. citizenship. was this younger man the intended target of the u.s. drone strike which took his life? further, do you reject the
subsequent plane apparently originating from anonymous u.s. government sources? always a concern when you hear anonymous u.s. government sources. that the young man had actually been a, quote, a military age male of 20 years or more of age, something later proven false by the release of his birth certificate? senator paul goes on in the letter, "do you believe the inadvertent killing of civilians and anger from local populations should cause us to limit rather than expand the drone question?" the c.i.a. reportedly continues to have authorization to carry out lethal drone strikes in pakistan autonomously and without approval from the president. will you seek to reduce or eliminate this practice or keep it in place? will you hold to the discussed one or two-year phaseout of this authority or work to expedite the phaseout? mr. president, i could go on and on because these are key questions that senator paul asked, it all fundamentally gets back to the fundamental question of do you believe the president
has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and without trial? so as i look at this letter of january 25 and look at the questions being asked, do you believe the lethal drone strikes constitute hostilities as defined by war powers act? on what legal basis does the administration derive authorization to conduct such strikes? and then the president's own words, the president has stated that al qaeda has been decimated. do you believe, senator paul to mr. brennan, do you believe this assertion is correct? and if so, what is it that we are now targeting, if not al qaeda? that's a fundamental question that came up in the hearings with secretary of state then clinton when she came to the senate, to the foreign relations committee. they changed their tune and
said, it was core al qaeda. not just al qaeda but core al qaeda. and al qaeda in afghanistan. but fundamentally the tune has changed. senator paul goes on, as the u.s. drone strike strategy exclusively focused on targeting al qaeda or is it also conducting counterinsurgency operations against militants seeking to further undermine their government such as in yemen. would you support expansion of the c.i.a. drone program in mali to support counterterrorism operations? we know what happened there and the impact in benghazi and the concern that those who weren't captured or tried in benghazi for the atrocities there went then to mali. again, a key question. the senator goes on, do you believe a long-term sustained drone program can eliminate all threats to the american people or completely eliminate al qaeda, as you have indicated in your intent? if not, how would we eventually wind down the drone program? at what point do you believe drone strikes will reach the
point of diminishing returns? if so, can it be done on a scale the drone program operates on now or would it have to be expanded? question -- and i was going to specifically ask senator paul to discuss this. do you support the attorney general's 2012 guidance to the nctc that it may deliberately collect, store and continually assess massive amounts of data on all u.s. citizens for potential correlations to terrorism, even if the u.s. citizens targeted have no known ties to terrorism? which gets into the whole thing that we started on earlier today, what role does the government play, where is the role of individual freedoms, right to trial, right to be heard, right to present their case, what about the fundamental rights in the bill of rights? i would just -- i think the final question here to mr. brennan is, please describe in detail the steps you have taken as assistant to the president as well as transparency measures you would support as director of the c.i.a. to improve the transparency of the administration's
counterterrorism policies? mr. president, i would just say, extremely well thought out questions by a very thoughtful senator and questions that the american people would like to have answers to. there is more to the letter but i would just like to take a second to -- to ask from senator paul if he feels that those have been adequately
there's a question can the military operate in the united states and this question was asked i think very poignantly by the senator from texas today trying to get an answer from the attorney general on this question, can you kill americans in american soil who are not involved in combat? and the answer has been evasive because he's brought up basically a red herring, pearl harbor or twin towers which none of us are disputing the military can respond to a lethal attack with lethal force.
so what i'd like to do without relinquishing the floor is so sea if the senator from texas would like to respond to his interpretation of what he was hearing from attorney general holder and whether the comments he was hearing, if attorney general holder were willing to sort of try to complete that conversation in a letter to us, whether actually we might get close to actually being on the same page. mr. cruz: i thank the senator from kentucky. i will ask him a series of questions and address both what the attorney general said and the substantive issue. i want to begin my questioning though by simply an ann observation and take a moment to thank the senator from kentucky. i have had the privilege of serving in this body nine weeks, and today is the first day i have ever had the extraordinary privilege of speaking on the floor of the senate. and in my first time to speak on
the floor of the senate, i found myself being given the chance to read from travis' letter from the alamo. as i observed walking off the floor of the senate, as they say in the beer commercial, it don't get no better than this. so i thank the senator from kentucky for giving me the opportunity to be welcomed to the floor of the senate and having a chance to stand with him fighting for liberty. now, there are a number of things i'd like to address and ask the senator from kentucky's views on. i'll begin by observing as i did the last time the senator from kentucky and i had a colloquy that twitter never sleeps. and we heard from a number of tweets across the country, but those have not ceased. and so since the senator from kentucky is still prohibited from looking at his cell phone, i wanted to prevent him from going into technology shock and
withdrawal and provide an in-person twitter feed for you. this is about the constitution. "stand with rand. get it together, g.o.p.." "stand with rand. rand praising dem oregon senator ron wyden for raising the same questions and concerns he has. where are all the other dems?" "sad day when killing americans is up for debate. sad that every senator is not up there with him. stand with rand. we are watching you guys." "i don't know how senator rand paul does it. i'm tired just from watching h him." "a tip of the cap to you, sir. thank you. stand with rand." "senator rand paul is extemporaneously giving a better human rights speech than at
barackobama ever has. stand with rand." and pretty certain for the record, i can confirm that no teleprompter was in front of the senator from kentucky's desk. "senator rand paul, jimmy stewart would be proud, sir." "senator rand paul, look what's trending. stand with rand." "it's been awhile since i could say i'm a proud american. thank you, rand paul. stand with rand." "rand paul might be waiting a long time for an answer from the white house. stand with rand." i would note it has been ten hours so that would, indeed, be a correct observation of fact. "at democrats. why not just agree that the potus cannot use droams to drono summarily kill u.s. citizens on u.s. soil. stand with rand." "senator rand paul crosses
eight-hour threshold of filibuster. stand with rand." "stand with rand, please." "senator rand paul did not filibuster for the right or the left. he did it for every person in this country. stand with rand." "once you give up your rights, you will not get them back. believe that. stand with rand." "we should all go to the u.s. capitol and stand with rand." and i would note that quite a few members of the house of representatives have crossed over the capitol and joined us precisely to stand with rand, as have the men and women in the gallery, who have been here throughout this long and historic stand. "finally able to sit and watch the rand paul filibuster.
just epic. stand with rand." "read the constitution and explain why each sentence is relevant to today. not worthless and outdated." "seven hours and counting for senator rand paul and the filibuster. this can end, brennan. just say you wouldn't unilaterally kill us. stand with rand." "america is watching. stand with rand." "i get the feeling that a more libertarian stance is the only thing which can bring about a fresh start for the g.o.p. stand with rand." "i stand with rand in his ninth hour waiting -- awaiting the president, saying he doesn't have the power to kill americans at will."
"quote -- i haven't killed anyone yet and i have no intention of killing americans, but i might, end quote, president barack obama. stand with rand." "the federal government was closed today yet senator rand paul was working overtime. you da man." and that would be "d-a m-a-n" is the precise spelling of that. "senator rand paul, 100% support you. keep going. stand with rand." "this isn't a filibuster. this is a line in the sand drawn with a quill pen that penned the constitution." i think that one's particularly cool. "do you agree with your colleague, representative just inamash? stand with rand." almost always the answer to that one should be yes.
"do you stand with senator rand paul and demand an answer from the white house on extra judicial assassinations of americans?" there's a word we don't hear too often within our own borders -- assassinations. and yet that's exactly what we're talking about here tonight. "don't think i've ever been quite so proud to say i'm from kentucky. stand with rand." "senator rand paul getting to the heart of issues. not partisan politics but a question of due process." "he's just about eight hours away from having the fifth longest filibuster." i apologize to the senator from kentucky is that is less than encouraging. [laughter] "stand with rand." "i have a renewed sense of hope for our leaders in washington today. thank you, senator rand paul, for standing by we, the people.
stand with rand." "i am a strong liberal supporter and two-time obama voter. i stand with rand." "dr. rand paul, excellent, excellent work today. we stand with rand, too." "i hope senator rand paul can keep them up all night. there hasn't been a real filibuster on the senate floor in years. stand with rand." and i would note, as i was walking in, that -- that this is certainly the least well shaven i have been on the senate floor and -- and it is particularly ironic that the desk i am sitting at, in addition to having been the former desk of a great hero of mine, senator berry goldwatebarry goldwater, e former desk of senator richard nixon. and so perhaps that spirit is
animating the 5:00 shadow that i find myself at 10:00 at night sporting. [laughter] "stand with you, i do. stand with rand." i wonder if that one was from dr. seuss. [laughter] "stand with rand because you have the freedom to do so." "obama is going to have to address the points raised by paul." "i stand with rand." "best line of the filiblizzard thus far -- retweet, yet another of senator rand paul's miraculous tweets that he did from the floor of the senate, a tweet of senator rand paul -- quote -- "they shouldn't just drop a hellfire missile on your cafe experience." [laughter] i would suggest to the senator from kentucky that at the end of what i am sure will be a long and very distinguished career in
politics, fighting for every american, that with statements like that, a subsequent career at starbucks may, indeed, be promising. the fight for liberty has a real hero. may the spirits of past patriots fuel you. "until you get an answer, rand, keep on going. let's take it into tomorrow." "is suspicion enough? obviously not, senator rand paul." "if you have family or friends in the middle east, you might be a terrorist. stand with rand." "for the first time since november, i feel like i see a light at the end of the tunnel. it's a long tunnel." stand with rand. " senatosenator rand paul -- qu-
"if you have no bounds, you have an imperial unlimited presidency." so true. "senator rand paul, eight hours and still going strong. thank you for standing for the constitution. god bless you. stand with rand." "thank you, rand paul, for standing unfor our constitution. we are behind you. stand with rand." "go get em, rand rand paul. great way to end my birthday. stand with rand." i hope we do do not make it this to that individual's next birthday. best tv i've seen in a while, stand with rand. "senator hand paul, i'm superproud of my senator be a a today, i've always been proud of him but today i'm-hour proud, stand with rand" written in all caps. my kids watching rand paul give a lesson to the country on their own without me telling them to. stand with rand. thank you, senator rand paul."
"why won't obama say that he won't use drones to kill noncombatant u.s. citizens on u.s. soil? it seems a simple question. stand with rand." "senator randz paul, thank you, be encouraged and stay are strong, would stand there with you if we could. we're no longer free. thank you for standing up for freedom." stand with rand is trending worldwide. that's pretty darn cool. rand paul goes into his ninth power of filibuster over drones. watch it here. and i won't read the link to c-span. senator rand paul, i'm so proud of you. way to stand tall, stand with rand. "senator rand paul, your loyalty and dedication to we, the people, are not going unnoticed. stand with rand." "if you give back your rights,
don't ever expect to get them back. stand with rand." "call the white house, 202-456- 1111." take a stand. for some reason i feel compelled to read that tweet a second time. "call the white house. 202-456-1111." rand paul standing for liberty and freedom, god bless you. stand with rand. "rand paul, the 21st century version of washington, jefferson, and madison." no matter how you fall politically, you have to admire rand paul's absolute conviction. i can't stop watching senator rand paul filibuster. greatness. stand with rand. "are you going to retweet stand
with rand all night? i am. liberty. rand paul." and the final one, "senator rand paul, i'm a grandma who just learned how to twitter tonight so that i could stand with rand and the constitution." now, the first question i will ask of the senator from kentucky and i have several more, is simply what would you say to these millions of americans and people worldwide who are coming together to stand with rand? mr. paul: mr. president, i thank the senator from texas for coming to the floor and i'm overwhelmed with all of the responses. what i would say is i think there are things that are more
important than personalities, more important than party, and they're the things that our country is founded upon and i mean these are the things that i think bring people together who really want to us stand up and say that these protections will exist. the interesting thing about our constitution is it -- you know, it protects people who are those who are defenseless often, those who can be falsely accused of crimes are what the constitution is there for. so i think there are people from all walks of life who say, you know, my brother was falsely accused or my brother was put in jail for five years or something for something either they didn't do or was an inappropriate sentence. i think people understand the idea of wanting to be protected from false accusations. not only for something where you might be put in prison but for something in this case you might be killed for. and that we all understand, all you got to do is get on line to read comments to any kind of
story on line to know that people make all kinds of wild accusations and wild comments on line. do we really want to be that is one of the indications for whether or not you might be targeted for surveillance or whether you might be targeted for a drone strike? that anything like this could happen really without you having your due process, that the fifth amendment somehow would be optional, that the executive branch would decide when they're going to apply the fifth amendment? so i'm overwhelmed with the responses, and i think it is something that unifies people and it's brought together people both from the democrat side of the aisle as well as the republican side of the aisle because to me this isn't about whether the president is republican or democrat. i've supported several of his nominees. i've supported people because i think he has the right to make political nominations even though i don't glea with much of any of the -- agree with any of the nominees or the politics of
the administration, this is different. this is a constitutional principle. we're here today to filibuster against or for a constitutional principle, not necessarily an individual. but it's something that, you know, i think a lot of americans believe strongly. and i thank very much, mr. president, the comments that we've gotten from the senator and would entertain any other questions. mr. cruz: i thank the senator from kentucky and i do indeed into additional questions. you know, the heart of what you're standing for with so many other senators tonight are standing for is liberty. and that i think has always been the foundational value in the united states of america. our country was founded by framers who understood that concentrated power is always inemmiccal to liberty.
that any time great power is undecided, that the freedom of the people is at jeopardy. as lord acton observes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. it is for that reason the framers of our constitution good did what the supreme court has described as splitting the atom of sovereignty, taking what used to be one discreetd -- discrete power, and breaking it up among the branches of the federal government and breaking it up between the federal government and the 50 states and the local governments as well. and the purpose of doing all of that is to prevent what james madison in federalist number ten described as factions. today we would call them special
interests. that might take control of one branch of government. if all power were concentrated in the executive, and one faction, one special interest were to gain influence in that executive, then the liberty of the people would be at peril. and in federalist ten madison explained that factions are never going to go away. human nature is such that we will divide into factions with different interests and the genius of the framers was not to imagine human nature was somehow different than it was but to recognize that it was. as the federalist papers explained, if men were angels, no government would be necessary. the great challenge in forming a government is to enable the government to do what it must and yet at the same time oblige it to govern itself. and for that reason, splitting
the atom of sovereignty, separating power, prevents any one branch of government from acquiring unchecked power. it is indeed the responsibility of this body to do what we're doing now. if a president of the united states decrease the -- decrees the power to take the lives of u.s. citizens on u.s. soil without due process of law, i would suggest it is integral to the oath of office of every member of the united states senate and every member of the united states house of representatives to stand up and say, mr. president, respectfully, no, you may not. the constitution gives you no such power, and each of us on entering office, in my case just a few weeks ago standing on those steps, the vice president asked me to raise my hand and
take an oath to honor and defend the constitution. every member of this body took that oath. and it is our responsibility, especially when one branch of the government is overreaching, is usurping power that the constitution forbids him and that is threatening to the liberty of the people, it is the responsibility of all of us to stand up and resist that. you know, one of my all-time heroes, ayn rand in "atlas shrugged" how the parasitical class would put into place arbitrary power. standardless rules, precisely so, the productive citizens in the private sector would have to come on bended knee to those in government seeking special dispensation, seeking special
favor because that arbitrary and standardless rule empowers the political class and disempowers the people. i couldn't help but think about ayn rand's observations this morning as i heard the attorney general over and over and over again refuse to say it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil. now, he would say it would be inappropriate. he said that three times in response to direct questioning. it would be inappropriate, and we should trust him, the federal government would not do so. and i found myself thinking of those arbitrary standards ayn rand talked about that if the only protection we, the people, have against the federal government choosing to take the life of a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil is our trust that
they would refrain from doing what is inappropriate rather than the protections of the constitution, then i would suggest our liberty is fragile indeed. indeed, when you think about the concentration of power, no judicial opinion is more important than justice robert jackson's concurring opinion in the jacksontown steel seizure case. justice jackson as the senator from kentucky knows, was a giant on the u.s. supreme court. my former boss, chief justice william rehnquist served as a law clerk to justice robert jackson. and indeed, justice jackson took time off from serving on the u.s. supreme court to serve as the chief prosecutor at the nuremberg trials, during which
he made the powerful observation following world war ii when the united states brought to trial the her risk war criminals -- horrific war criminals in the nazi regime. justice jackson object searched at nuremberg that four great nations flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law. is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason. i would suggest to the senator from kentucky and i feel confident he would agree that we are talking about right now is the tribute that power must and should pay to reason, and that unchecked power is always a threat to liberty. now, as justice jackson opined
in youngstown steel seizure, that comprehensive and undefied presidential powers hold both practical advantages and grave dangers for the country will impress anyone who whose has served as a legal advisor to the a president in a time of transition and public anxiety. those words could have been written as easily tonight as they were half a century ago. injured jackson continued while the constitution defuses power to better secure liberty, it also con testimony plailts that practice will integrate the dispersed power into a workable government. it enjoins upon its branches separateness but interdependence, autonomy but reciprocity. presidential powers are not fixed but fluctuate, depending on their disjunction or
conjunction with those of congress. when a president acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of congress, his authority is at its maximum. i think there can be no disputing that any claim a presidential authority to kill u.s. citizens on u.s. soil in absence of an imminent threat has no express or implied authorization of congress, and that presidential authority is wanting. number two, justice jackson explains, when the president acts in the absence of either a congressional grant or denial of authority, he can only rely upon his own independent powers. but there is a zone of twilight in which he and congress may have concurrent authority or in which the distribution is uncertain. therefore, congressional inertia, indifference or
acquiescence may sometimes at least as a practical matter enable if not invite measures on independent presidential responsibility. in this area any actual test of power is likely to depend upon the imperatives of the events and contemporary and ponder rather than abstract theories of law. now perhaps prior to 11:45 today, attorney general eric holder and john brennan would have argued they fall into the second category, a category where congress has been silent and accordingly they might presume some presidential power. but as of 11:40 today -- 11:45 today they can no longer claim that. justice jackson explained the third category of presidential powers. when the president takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of congress his power is at its
lowest ebb because then he can rely only on his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of congress over the matter. courts can sustain exclusive presidential control in such a case only by disabling the congress from acting on the subject. presidential power -- presidential claim to a power at once so conclusive and precollusive must be scrutinized with caution, for what is at stake is the ekweu lib pwrupl established by equlibrium established by our constitutional prism. as we stand here tonight later than the typical hour for the senate being in session, indeed later than many members of this body had anticipated being in washington, d.c. -- many members of this body envisioned on being
on planes and returning home by now. but it occurs to me that those senators who have heeded the encouragement of the twitter verse to "stand with rand," those senators who have come here today, i am reminded of henry v, as shakespeare observed, what's he as wishes so, my cousin westmoreland. no, fair cousin. if we are marked to die, we are now to do our country's loss. if to live the fewer men, the greater share of honor god's will i play thee wish not one man more, by jove, i am not covetous for gold nor
care i who does feed upon my cost. such outward things dwell not in my desires. but if it be a sin to covet honor, i am the most offending soul alive no faith my cause wish not a man from england god's peace i would not lose so great an honor as one man more me thinks share from me for the best hope i have oh do not wish one more. rather proclaim it westmoreland through my host that he which hath no stomach to this fight let him depart his passport shall be made and crowns for convoy put into his purse. we would not die in that man's company that fears his fellowship to die with us
this day is called the feast of crispian he who outlives this day and comes safe home will stand at tip toe when this day is named and rouse him at the name of crispian. he that shall live this day and see old age will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors and say tomorrow is st. crispian. then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars and say these wounds i have on crispian's day. man forget yet all shall be forgot, yet he'll remember with advantages what feast he did that day. then shall our names familiar in his mouth as household words, the king, bedford and exeter.
salisbury and gloucester, be in their flowing cups freshly remembered. this story shall the good man teach his son and crispen crispian shall nar go by from this day to the end of the world. when we in it shall be remembered we few, we happy few, we band of brothers. for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. be he nar so vi le this, day shall gentle his condition. and gentlemen in england now abed shall think themselves acursed that they were not here. and hold their manhood's cheap whilest any speak that fought with us upon st. crispin's day.
i would observe to the senator from kentucky that those glorious sentiments expressed centuries ago are precisely applicable to the stand here tonight. because it is a stand against high odds. indeed, it is a stand against an administration that refuses to acknowledge limits on its power. and it is a stand for the same purpose, for liberty. there is a frustration across this country, a frustration not with democrats or republicans, not with one party or the other. a frustration with entrenched politicians in washington who don't seem to work for anybody. i'm convinced there's something credible happening in this country that the people are standing up and reminding the
men and women of this body that every one of us works for we, the people. and it is our principal task to stand and defend liberty especially when liberty is threatened. indeed, that st. crispin's day speech had a same and even in some ways a different manifest manifestation in one of the greatest movies of all time, "patton. the opening scene of patton i will confess to the senator from kentucky i had more than once in preparation for oral argument in court watched george c. scott marching out in front of a flag the size of north dakota, standing in front of the flag, general patton observed in a
tribute to that very same speech i just read -- i'm going to modify it slightly to make it p.g. -- "men, i want you to remember that no fellow ever won a war by dying for his country. he won it by making the other poor fellow die for his country. men, all this stuff you've heard about america not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war is a lot of horse stuff. americans traditionally love to fight. all real americans love the sting of battle. when you were kids you admired the champion marble shooter, fastest runner, big league ball players, the toughest boxer. americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. americans play to win all the time. i wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. that's why americans have never lost and will never lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to americans."
george c. scott continued as patton, "there's another thing i want you to remember. i don't want to get any messages saying we are holding our position. we're not holding anything. let the other side do that. we're advancing constantly. we're not interested in holding on to anything except the enemy. we're going to hold him by the nose and kick him in the posterior. we're going to kick the heck out of him all the time. we're going to go through him like through a goose. 30 years from now when you're sitting around the fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, what did you do in the great world war ii, you
won't have to say i shoveled manure in louisiana. that same sentiment, the same sentiments in st. crispin day talked about a tradition that has been a tradition in america for centuries of men and women rallying together to fight for freedom. rallying against hard odds, rallying against challenging obstacles. and i would observe that that fight should not be a partisan fight. this is not a question of republican or democrat, liberty, the right to life of every american citizen from arbitrary taking at the hands of the federal government should not simply be a value that one side or another of this chamber
embraces. indeed, i would note during the hearings this morning with attorney general eric holder some of the most enthusiastic audience participants in that hearing were self-identified members of code pink, who i would suggest are not ordinarily individuals who would be described as card-carrying members of the republican party. but liberty does not have a partisan affiliation. indeed, to the senator from kentucky, i think it is an interesting question what the reaction in this chamber and outside would be if the very same statements that have been made were made by a president who happened to be republican.
i think there is little doubt that the outcry would be deafening, and rightly so. and i will say to the senator from kentucky, if a president made the identical representations and happened to have an "r" behind his or her name, i have not one shadow of a doubt that the senator from kentucky would be standing here ten hours in, protesting the arbitrary assertion of power by a president regardless of whether we share his party or not. indeed, i would note to the senator from kentucky, this is a scenario which is not entirely hypothetical. prior to serving in this body, i had the great privilege of serving my home state of texas as the solicitor general of texas.
and during that time, we faced a tragic and epic battle in a case called medellin versus texas. medellin began with a crime that really shocked the conscience. two little girls were horrificically abused and murdered by a gang in houston. they were apprehended. they confessed, and they were convicted by a jury of their peers, quite rightly. at that point the case took a very, very strange turn. because the world court, which is the judicial arm of the united nations, issued an order to the united states to reopen the convictions of 51 murderers across this country, including one of the murderers in this case, jose ernesto medellin.
i will tell you jose medellin wrote a four-page handwritten confession in that case. it's one of the most chilling documents i have ever had the displeasure of reading. in it, he bragged about those little girls begging for their lives. a tiny detail he included in those letters was in many ways the most haunting, and i know it will remain with me for the rest of my life. he described how the youngest of those girls was wearing a micky mouse watch and how he kept it as a trophy of that night because he was so proud of the atrocities they had committed. it was truly sickening what those young boys did that evening. and yet, the world court asserted a power that heretofore has never been asserted. it was the first time in history a foreign court has ever tried
to bind the u.s. justice system. the world court claimed the authority to reopen those convictions, and so texas stood up and fought the world court. i had the honor of arguing this case twice in front of the united states supreme court. on the other side with 90 foreign nations that came in against the state of texas. 90 nations argued that the united states justice system should be completely subject to the authority of the world court and the united nations. and also on the other side most disturbingly was the president of the united states. the president signed a two-paragraph order that attempted to order the state courts to obey the world courts. again, that order, like the world court's order was unprecedented. it was the first time in history any president has ever attempted
to order the state courts to do anything. unfortunately, the president at issue in that case was a republican. it was president george w. bush, a man for whom i worked, a man who in many respects i respect. and yet, in that case he asserted a power that could be found nowhere in the constitution. and in consultation with my boss at the time, attorney general greg abbott, i went before the united states supreme court and argued on boost the state of texas that the president of the united states has no authority to give away u.s. sovereignty. now that was done not withstanding the fact that the president was a republican, not withstanding the fact that the president was the former governor of my home state of texas.
because at the end of the day, defending liberty, defending sovereignty, defending the constitution is not a partisan choice. it's not a game of dodge ball with shirts and skins that if your team happens to have the ball, you all stick together. every one of us has taken an oath of office and we have an obligation to stand up. and so i stood before the u.s. supreme court representing the state of texas arguing that no president of the united states, be he republican or democrat, has the authority to give up sovereignty and make the state courts subject to the world court. now, i would note in that case, the state of texas had support from a number of unlikely sources. indeed, we had a wide range of amicae, of friends of the court, who came in and supported us.
one brief was filed on behalf of law professors. it was joined by several law professors, one of whom, john yew, is widely considered the law professor with "the" most expansive view of presidential authority and, indeed, was an individual who served in the justice department and had advocated under president bush an expansive view of presidential authority that. very same brief was -- that very same brief was joined buyer win chamerins ci, thski, n of the california school of law. dean chamerinski is a very well-known and proud liberal academic. i suspect it may well be right that this is the only time ever that john yew and irwin
chimerinski joined a single brief before the u.s. supreme court. and both of them agreed, despite the fact that they come from very, very different places in the legal academy, both of them agreed that unchecked power in the hand of the executive is fundamentally a threat to liberty. and, indeed, i would note to the senator from kentucky that in talking with both of them and in asking for their support in mediterranean, i -- i -- in medl meddelline, i made the point that a president from the other side, who-th who had the power s being asserted. to the friends of mine on the right, i suggested that if a president had the power to set aside state laws on grounds of international comity, which was the basis that was being asserted in that case, without any sanction from congress,
without any sanction from another branch of the federal government, simply on his own unilateral authority, to my friends on the right, i suggested that an activist president on the left could use that powfe power to assert, for example, that in his or her judgment, the marriage laws of all 50 states should be set aside. now, it may well be that all 50 states will choose to set their marriage laws aside. that is a judgment right now that has been in the hands of the voters in each state, but regardless of what the 50 states decide -- and i suspect they will not decide the same thin thing -- it seems to me clear that no president has the authority unilaterally with the flick of a finger to remove laws from the state books of all 50 states. likewise, to my friends on the left, i ask them to envision their nightmare of a right-wing president.
they each had slightly different incarnations but they all managed to do that. and i said, if this assertion of power is correct, that any president can set aside any state law if he or she deems it inconsistent with international comity, even though no treaty requires this -- and, indeed, in medellin, the justice department made clear no treaty required this, this was simply a power that was ac being asserted to further comity, to further our relationships with foreign nations -- to my friends on the left, i suggested if the president has this power, what is to stop a president on the right from saying, i am setting aside the punitive damages laws in all 50 states? it upsets comity when companies, foreign companies, are subject to punitive damages award. therefore, tort reform shall be the law in all 50 states. and for that matter, there are states, like california, that
persist in putting in place incredibly restrictive environmental laws. if the president has the authority to flick aside state laws, what would present -- what would prevent a president on the right from saying those environmental laws are no more? now, i would note to the senator from kentucky that my view on all of those questions was very clear and very straightforward. no president may do so, whether he or she is of the right or of the left. if the federal government is to set aside a state law, it may do so only through exercise of the supremacy clause. and the framers required that in order to set aside a state law that had been adopted by the democratically elected legislature in the state, that two branches had to work together in concert. either through legislation that passes the house of representatives, passes the united states senate and is signed into law by the preside president, or through the form of a treaty that is signed by
the president and ratified by two-thirds of the united states senate. but in both instances, the framers required two branches to work together. why? because of the same reason we discussed before, the reason from federalist 10, that you do not want power unified in one branch of government where a faction, a special interest may seize control of it. you want it divided. now, i will note it was an unusual position for the state of texas to appear before the united states supreme court and argue that an action by a republican president and former governor of the state of texas was unconstitutional. yet i can tell you, i was very proud to have the opportunity to do just that. and i was even more proud when the supreme court of the united states ruled by a vote of 6-3 in favor of the state of texas, concluding, number one, that the world court has no authority
whatsoever to bind the united states justice system; and, number two, that the president has no authority under the constitution to give away our sovereignty. i would suggest that's the way our system's supposed to work. that all of us, regardless of party, should be standing together for liberty. and when i think of standing for liberty, some of the frustration that people have across this country is they feel it doesn't do any good, doesn't make a difference who they vote for. whoever they vote for, they go to washington, they keep spending money and they spend more money and more money and more money and the debt go up and up and up and up and the federal laws get bigger and bigger and bigger and the federal regulations get more and more and more and more and nothing seems to change. and i understand that frustration. it is a real frustration. it is a frustration i share and
i know it is a frustration the senator from kentucky shares. and i would suggest that tonight part of the import of tonight is that the senator from kentucky is standing with millions of americans who are frustrated by politicians in washington who are unwilling to rock the boat. who are unwilling to stand for change. and i'm reminded that change can sometimes seem hopeless. indeed, i mentioned that the desk i'm standing at was previously occupied by barry goldwater. i have yet to acquire but i intend to acquire a leatherbound copy of "conscience of a conservative" which i intend to keep in this desk. when barry goldwater became a national leader, his views were thought impossible to receive a wide audience.
the views instead that were in the ascendancy were the views of the left, that government control of the economy of our lives was the proper and right direction for our nation. and yet i'm reminded of someone else, like the senator from kentucky, who gave a speech on october 27, 1964. he said the following: "i have spent most of my life as a democrat. i recently have seen fit to follow another course. i believe that the issues confronting us cross party lin lines. now, one side in this campaign," the campaign in 1964 for president, "has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maipt maintenance of ped prosperity. the line has been used. we've never had it so good. but i have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future.
no nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share. ah, those were the days. and yet our government continues to spend $17 million a day more than the government takes in. would that we could say today the government spends only $17 million a day more than it takes in. we haven't balanced our budget in 28 out of the last 34 years. we've raised our debt limit three times in the last 12 months. i will remind you, this speeches givespeechwas given in 1964, not week, and now our national debt is 1 1/2 times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. we have $15 billion in gold in
our treasury. we don't own an ounce. foreign dollar claims are $27.3 billion. and we have just announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents of its total value. again, a scenario with which we are quite familiar. as for the peace that we would preserve, i wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in south vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. do they mean peace or do they mean that we just want to be left in peace? there can be no real peace while one american is dying someplace in the world for the rest of us. we're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. and it's been said that if we lose that war and in doing so lose this way of freedom o